Posts Tagged ‘joan blondell’

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Jayne Mansfield Collection (The Girl Can’t Help It / The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw / Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?)

Tagline – Man, oh man, oh Mansfield!

Starring – Tony Randall (Rockwell P. Hunter), Jayne Mansfield (Rita Marlowe), Betsy Drake (Jenny Wells), Joan Blondell (Violet).

Released – July, 1957

Directed By – Frank Tashlin

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – How does it feel to be low man on the advertising totem pole? Just ask Rockwell P. Hunter of the La Salle Advertising Agency.

Not only is Rockwell having problems… the whole agency is on the brink. Making matters worse is the fact that La Salle’s biggest account – Stay-Put Lipstick – is threatening to leave them for another agency.

And then the light-bulb turns on. Rockwell has a great idea that will save the Stay-Put-Lipstick account and his career. His plan is to get famous actress, and woman with the “oh-so-kissable lips”, Rita Marlowe to be the model and spokeswoman for Stay-Put’s new line of lipstick.

To get some instant publicity, La Salle “leaks” to the tabloids that Rockwell is Rita Marlowe’s lover. Not only does this plan get the public’s attention, but it now raises Rockwell’s status at the agency to star level.

But, not everyone is happy. Marlowe’s current boyfriend, TV’s Tarzan, Bobo Branigansky is jealous. Complicating the situation even further is the fact that Rita Marlowe thinks she is actually falling in love with Rockwell.

It isn’t long before Rockwell P. Hunter finds out that fame is a double-edged sword.

NOTABLE: Rita Marlowe, the name of Jayne Mansfield’s character, is a combination of *Rita* Hayworth, Jean H*arlow*, and Marilyn *M*onr*oe.*

Jane Mansfield also starred in the original Broadway play of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter that ran, at New York’s Belasco Theatre, for 444 performances.

Mamie Van Doren was originally offered the role of Rita Marlowe but turned it down.

Desk Set

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Desk Set [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Make the office a wonderful place to love in!

Starring – Spencer Tracy (Richard Sumner), Katharine Hepburn (Bunny Watson), Gig Young (Mike Cutler), Joan Blondell (Peg Costello), Dina Merrill (Sylvia Blair).

Released – May, 1957

Directed By – Walter Lang

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – Engineer Richard Sumner is on a secret mission. Espionage? Nope. Richard is “casing” the Federal Broadcasting Network for the installation of a new computer system of operation.

Why the cloak and dagger stuff? A secret merger with another large company will bring with it a great deal of additional work for the current staff. In order to not alarm the staff before the merger, Richard has been assigned to structure the introduction of two computers to help with the increased work load.

The use of two ‘electronic brains’ just may cause the loss of some jobs. One job belongs to Bunny Watson. Bunny is in charge of reference and research and also the sweetheart of rising company executive Mike Cutler.

Things get considerably more complicated as Richard begins to take a romantic interest in Bunny. Although in a relationship with Mike, Bunny realizes that he may not be interested in any kind of long-term pairing. Such as marriage.

With Richard’s new attention causing Bunny to be more and more interested in the possibilities with him she still has doubts regarding his sincerity. It is Bunny’s fear that Richard is, and will always be, more interested in the new computer system than in her.

How to find out requires just one simple test. Bunny will set the new computer system to self-destruct and see how Richard reacts to the news.

NOTABLE: Desk Set is based on a William Marchant play and the character of Bunny Watson on librarian Agnes E. Law, who had built up the CBS network’s research library.

Desk Set was the first film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn to be filmed in color.

Nightmare Alley

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Nightmare Alley (Fox Film Noir)

Tagline – He was all things to all men …but only one thing to all women!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Stanton “Stan” Carlisle), Joan Blondell (Zeena Krumbein), Coleen Gray (Molly Carlisle), Helen Walker (Lilith Ritter).

Released – October, 1947

Directed By – Edmund Goulding

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – Small-time huckster Stan Carlisle has taken a job with a traveling carnival, as an assistant to Mademoiselle Zeena and her husband Pete. At one time, Zeena and Pete, who work a very impressive mind-reading act, only worked with the top carnival’s as the top-billed act.

Then, something happened. Zeena has committed an offense that drove her husband to drink. So much so that his alcoholism has reduced their act to now only third-rate carnivals. While the act itself has fallen, the elaborate word code secret that sells audiences on Zeena’s psychic ability is worth its weight in gold.

This fact has not escaped the notice of Stan. Many have tried to buy the secret from Zeena, but she has refused, wanting to sell only when she and Pete retire. The amoral Stan tries to romance Zeena into giving him the secret, but she resists believing that after their life in the carney she will send husband Pete to an alcoholic rehab facility and they can begin a new life.

It is now that fate decides to take an ugly turn. One evening in Texas, while Pete and Stan are together, Stan gives a bottle to Pete. The bottle, wood alcohol, and not moonshine, poisons Pete killing him.

After the death of her husband, Zeena, in an effort to keep the psychic act going, tells the secret of the acts success to Stan so that he may continue in the role of her assistant. Stan so efficiently learns the mind-reading secrets that he begins to hatch a plan of his own.

Stan focuses his attention on young Molly, convincing her that his only interest in Zeena was to get the code, and seduces her. This does not sit well with the other members of the carnival, who like Molly, and insist, “shotgun wedding” style, that Stan marry Molly and that he is no longer welcome to remain with the carnival.

This is no disappointment for Stan as he has much greater ambitions. He starts a show of his own and assumes the identity of “The Great Stanton,” someone with the ability to communicate with the dead.

Working with the assistance of crooked psychologist Lilith Ritter, who gives Stan information regarding her patients, it isn’t long before “The Great Stanton” is playing the top nightclubs.

Stan’s fraudulent act sets it’s sights on a path to swindle wealthy Ezra Grindle. Complications ensue, Stan may just find himself the target of a scam while developing an alcohol problem of his own. Molly will refuse to participate in Stan’s heartless scheme, while Lilith Ritter proves to be even more crooked than she appears.

If only this phony psychic could have seen his own future.

NOTABLE: In Nightmare Alley, the role of Stan Carlisle, was a successful attempt by Tyrone Power to escape being typecast as just a romantic, swashbuckler in film.

To lend authenticity to the picture, the producers build a full-size carnival on the Fox back lot and hired over 100 actual carnival acts and workers.

Initially, the film had very limited box office success, partly due to content that was considered too scandalous. Over time, the films acclaim grew and Nightmare Alley is now considered a film noir classic.


Footlight Parade

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Footlight Parade

Tagline – All directed and staged by the internationally famous creators of “42nd Street”, Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley. CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF MISSING IT?

Starring – James Cagney (Chester Kent), Joan Blondell (Nan Prescott), Ruby Keeler (Bea Thorn), Dick Powell (Scott ‘Scotty’ Blair).

Released – October, 1933

Directed By – Lloyd Bacon

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Chester Kent’s career as a Broadway musical director has come upon hard times. In an effort to stay afloat, Kent decides to shift his focus to the creation of short, live, musical productions called “prologues.”

These mini-productions are presented in movie theaters before the main feature is shown. As if the pressure of creating the large number of marketable productions that are called for isn’t enough, it seems as though someone is stealing his ideas and has some inside help.

Quietly, without Kent even noticing, his secretary Nan is falling in love with him. With a big deal looming, Kent must put together three prologues in order to get the contract. Can he make it in time, and will someone steal the idea before he gets to present it?

NOTABLE: In 1992, Footlight Parade was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This was the film debut of actress Dorothy Lamour. She, along with Ann Southern, appeared as one of the chorus girls.

Personal Note: This is one of the most enjoyable of the early sound musicals. A strong finish featuring three spectacular numbers choreographed by the great Busby Berkeley.


Gold Diggers of 1933

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Gold Diggers of 1933

Tagline – 300 Gorgeous GIRLS Hand-picked from more than 5000 applicants. Each a perfect example of feminine beauty… Add these 300 beauties to the 13 stars, 5 song hits and 4 glittering ensembles and you’ll know why we call this picture “THE SHOW of a THOUSAND WONDERS”

Starring – Warren William (J. Lawrence Bradford), Joan Blondell (Carol King), Aline MacMahon (Trixie Lorraine), Ruby Keeler (Polly Parker), Dick Powell (Brad Roberts), Ginger Rogers (Fay Fortune).

Released – May, 1933

Directed By – Mervyn LeRoy

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – This pre-code Warner Brothers musical was staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. During the height of the depression, producer Barney Hopkins has everything he needs to produce a hit show.

He’s got the talent in “gold diggers” with Polly the ingenue, Trixie the comedienne, Fay the glamour puss, Carol the torch singer, and a good story. Only one thing is lacking… money. Creditor’s have just closed down rehearsal due to unpaid bills.

Out of the blue, Polly’s boyfriend Brad Roberts, a talented singer and songwriter who has written the music for the show, offers to put up $15,000 to back the production. Everyone thinks he is joking until he comes up with the money and production begins.

One catch, Brad does not want to perform in the show despite his talent. This adds to everyone’s suspicion as to where this money came from and why not perform? Is Brad really hiding something?

It seems he is, as Brad is the son of a wealthy family who has no intention of allowing him to become a stage performer and end up seduced by some “gold digger.”

NOTABLE: In 2003, Gold Diggers of 1933 was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This film received an Oscar nomination for Best Sound, Recording.